The XW7000ES is a 3200-lumen native 4Khome theater projector that retails for $27,999. It is part of a complete line refresh of Sony's SXRD projector lineup. Sony has reduced the number of models they offer but now every unit utilizes a laser light source. Since the laser light source has a rated life of 20,000 hours the result is years of nearly maintenance-free operation.
In addition to their laser sources, these models also utilize a new 0.61-inch SXRD panel which is more compact while still offering the high native contrast and native 4K UHD resolution. The XW7000ES is 20% smaller and 30% lighter than the VW915ES.
One reason why the new 0.61-inch SXRD imager is more compact is due to the fact that its native resolution is now 3840 x 2160 while the older 0.74-inch SXRD imager’s native resolution was 4096 x 2160.
Most 4K consumer displays have a native resolution of 3840 x 2160 commonly referred to as 4K UHD with a 16:9 aspect ratio. However, the resolution of the previous Sony 4K SXRD was 4096 x 2160 (as mentioned above) which is cinematic 4K making their aspect ratio closer to 17:9. Since most consumer content is produced in 4K UHD, about 7% of the pixels of the older Sony SXRD imager we’re not utilized much of the time.
When using a 16:9 screen those extra pixels were just zoomed off the screen. Not only were you not using all the pixels on screen you were not using all the projector’s brightness.
The smaller 3-chip imaging system also reduces the size of the lenses which results in a more compact chassis. The XW7000ES is nearly 30% smaller and 20% lighter than the VW915ES while delivering 30% more brightness.
Lastly, all the new models including the XW7000ES, are equipped with the X1 Ultimate video processors which have been optimized for projector applications. The X1 Ultimate is Sony’s most powerful video processor, and it was first introduced in Sony's flagship 4K SXRD projector, the VPL-GTZ380. This processor is what gives the projector the ability to do frame-by-frame HDR tone mapping. The VW1025ES supports both the HDR10 standard as well as HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma).
Sony was the first company to introduce a native 4K home theater projector and they still have one of the most comprehensive model assortments. In addition to the XW7000ES, Sony is introducing two additional laser-based 4K SXRD Home Theater models.
While Sony has slimmed down their projector lineup slightly, they still offer a total of five 4K HDR home theater projectors, starting with the XW5000ES ($6,000 SRP) moving up to the flagship GTZ380 which is $80,000 (minus the ARC-F Lens).
Check out our interview with Rob Brennan (Sony's Product Technology & Training Manager) from the Spring 2022 Projection Showcase where we discuss the new lineup in detail.
See below for a summary of the Sony 4K SXRD projector lineup for 2022.
$80,000 (w/o lens)
The Sony VPL-XW5000ES ($5,999 SRP), which replaces the VPL-VW325ES, is still the least expensive native 4K projector but like all the newly introduced Sony models it utilizes a laser light source and the X1 Ultimate video processor.
I have had a Sony lamp-based SXRD projector in my media room for years but I found myself utilizing my flat panel more than the projector. I was always worrying about lamp hours which meant content had to be “bulb worthy” so I used the projector primarily for movie nights and special events like the Super Bowl. Previously you would have to spend at least $20,000 to get a Sony Laser SXRD projector, but now these laser sources are available on Sony models starting at just $6000.
Stepping up to the VPL-XW6000ES ($11,999 SRP) adds a motorized ACF lens with picture position memories along with additional 500 ANSI lumens of brightness. The XW6000ES retails for about a thousand dollars more than VPL-VW715ES but the new model is 800 lumens brighter and includes a laser light source and the more powerful X1 Ultimate video processor.
The VPL-XW7000ES replaces both the VPL-VW915ES ($20,000 SRP) and the VPL-VW1025ES ($40,000 SRP). When compared to the VW1025ES, the new XW7000ES offers comparable optics, 1000 lumens more brightness, and a better video processor for nearly $14,000 less.